Shake it up, Baby!

“Well, shake it up, baby” – the opening line of an early Beatles song (Twist and Shout) – is often what leaders need to do to initiate large scale change. Disruptive innovation isn’t a new phenomenon in the business world. Clayton Christensen, Harvard professor and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, popularized disruptive innovation as a… Read more

Mixed Messages Can Undermine Performance

Ron called me after he walked out of a meeting with top supply chain leaders at a large consumer goods manufacturer, where Ron was a senior director of communication. The company had initiated a plan to reduce product damage across its network, especially in its distribution centers (DCs), and the supply chain leaders had heard… Read more

For Change that Sticks, Replicate the System

My previous issue of The Leadership Report discussed how small wins can improve already good performance and help you transform your business. The day after it was published, a reader said he was “interested in knowing how small wins can lead to a more systemic, holistic shift in embedding employee engagement as a routine day-to-day… Read more

Starting Small Proves Winning is Doable

One of the best ways to launch a system-wide overhaul is with small wins, accompanied by a healthy dose of bureaucracy busting. Attacking a small part of your organization first can get results fast and prove that taking the business to the next level is doable. Starting small enables you to go after the easy… Read more

Bring on the Band: Let’s Change the Culture!

Most CEOs who think they need to improve dramatically probably do. They usually get into the mess they’re in because they didn’t execute a customer-focused business strategy well. Execution starts with enabling people to change how they do their work. Results don’t change unless work changes, all things equal. But not all leaders understand this…. Read more

Gaming For Excellence

How Businesses Use Games to Gain “Gamification” is a pretentious new buzzword for a practice that’s been around a long time–using games to generate solutions to business problems. People who use the term often do so breathlessly, as though they’ve discovered something truly unique. The Atlantic magazine actually called the term gamification “bullshit.”  I wouldn’t… Read more

Lousy Change Leadership Causes Change Fatigue

If you’re like people in many companies today, you’re damned tired of the pursuit of constant change. I don’t blame you. I see first-hand what you’re going through–and where it comes from. Leaders who don’t have a clue as to how to manage or lead a change effort do more harm than good.  Take “The… Read more

A Leader’s First 30 Days Are Free

The Honeymoon Doesn’t Last… I’ve spent much of my career working with new leaders—leaders who were suddenly responsible for leading a company, one of its business units, regions, labs, manufacturing plants, or branch operations. New leaders encounter many of the same early challenges and make the same mistakes. Depending on the size of the organization,… Read more

Chasing Shiny, Bright Objects

One of my early consulting engagements was in Kansas City with a team of smart people from Hallmark. The team was charged with improving business processes that were critical to getting new products to market faster. The work took months off the process. It made the company more nimble, giving it a decided competitive edge…. Read more

Dooming Culture Change to Fail – 5 Common Mistakes

If I didn’t know better I’d be firmly convinced that many leaders get up in the morning and deliberately try to confuse the hell out of their employees. I’ve been guiding business leaders through major and minor change processes for more than 30 years. Some target the whole company; others focus on improving branch operations,… Read more